Public employees repair our roads, remove our trash and recyclables, care for our disabled and provide needed services for residents of the Commonwealth. They are public works employees working at great heights and in deep holes. They are health care providers who lift 10,000 pounds each day as they care for patients. And they are maintenance workers who work with heavy machinery. Each week, an average of 28 municipal workers suffer injuries serious enough to be out of work for five or more days, according to data from the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). The DIA notes that this is a conservative estimate, as the data doesn’t include all municipal workers. Yet other than the executive branch, through a law passed in 2014, public employers are not required to comply with federal OSHA measures. This bill amends the section of the law that gives the state the authority to investigate and establish regulations to protect the safety and health of Massachusetts workers, and establishes federal OSHA as the baseline for such rules and regulations. This way, all employees have consistent safety protections – and public employees don’t just receive such protections after a death or serious injury.
Read the bill here.